The happenings "inside" the Wisconsin State Treasury and across the street at the State Capitol

Money Matter: Buying a Home


Those interest rates are looking good, right? You may be thinking that the time is now to go and get that house you have always dreamed of. That’s part of the American Dream! For many, it has also been an American Nightmare.

Sears Catalog Homes, model 115, 1908-1914.

So, before you jump into the housing market, consider a few things. Our friends at Practical Money Skills offer this:

To Own or Not to Own
Home ownership isn’t for everyone. It’s definitely a long-term commitment. The prices of homes increase over the years, but usually at a slow rate. With all the financing, closing costs and other expenses associated with owning a home, you’ll probably lose money if you sell in less than five years.

You also have to think about the upkeep of a home. Everything from cutting the grass to putting on a new roof is your responsibility. The costs can really add up. Then add taxes, water and sewer bills and other expenses and you can get into some sizable payments.

But when you take full financial and maintenance responsibility for a home, it’s yours to do what you please. Paint the walls purple. Add a planetarium. Put in a fireman’s pole. You’re in charge.

There are also substantial financial advantages to owning a home. The part of your monthly payment that goes toward the principal is all equity and the part that goes toward interest is tax deductible. Compare that with paying rent, which is neither an investment nor a tax write-off.

As your equity increases with time (and payments) it will be a source of financial stability for you, giving you collateral for a loan or producing a large sum of money if you sell. And if you decide to sell your home, as long as you have lived in it for two of the past five years, you won’t have to pay tax on gains of up to $250,000. The limit doubles to $500,000 if you’re married and both have lived in the home for two years.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s